With the federal court striking down Pennsylvania’s Defense of Marriage Act last week, gays across the commonwealth can now enjoy the benefits and pitfalls of matrimony. And progressive politicians such as Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto are lining up to perform civil ceremonies for members of the gay community—but what of religious ceremonies? How will the Black Church respond to ‘gay marriage?”
For some pastors and congregations, the response will be what it has been: they will not perform marriage services for same-sex couples. Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik stated the Catholic Church’s position:
“This can only further undermine our understanding of the true nature of marriage as a life-long union of one man and one woman for their good and the good of their children. We weaken that understanding much to our peril as a people and a nation because marriage is not merely a private institution, or a private matter, but foundational to society,” he wrote.
“While the Church does not in any way condone discrimination or prejudice against any persons, what is at stake when marriage is redefined is the very survival of the family: father, mother and especially children. As we have already seen, the dilution of marriage only serves to increase poverty among women and children, while leading to a host of social problems.”
Some Baptist ministers have stated that homosexual marriages goes against the bible. That this position still holds sway was on display earlier this month in Michigan where a similar restriction on gay marriage was deemed unconstitutional. Several Black Baptist ministers said same sex marriage was “against God,” and would “destroy the backbone/foundation” of American society.
Locally, neither Rev. Victor Grigsby of Central Baptist Church nor Rev. William Curtis of Mt. Ararat Baptist Church returned calls for comment.
Reverend Glenn G. Grayson of the Wesley Center AMEZ Church said he could not speak for the American Methodist Episcopal Zion denomination, but said only that the church does not allow and would not be performing same-sex marriages.
Bishop Loran Mann of Pentecostal Temple COGIC said that while gay marriage may be legal in the eyes of man, it is not so in the eyes of God.
“The Church of God In Christ, since our inception in 1907, has without equivocation, supported marriage as a union between one man and one woman. That is God’s law,” he said. “And man does not have the right to contravene God’s law.”
Reverend James McLemore, presiding elder of the Pittsburgh Conference of the African Episcopal Methodist Church could not be reached for comment.
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